The potential chemical contamination incidents investigated by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) between 1990 and 2002 are reviewed. Incidents were identified in the course of the VLA’s surveillance of food animal disease and further investigations were carried out on behalf of the Food Standards Agency in order to identify and control the contamination of food animals and animal products with chemical hazards. In total 876 incidents were investigated, of which 588 involved the poisoning of cattle with heavy metals. There were 63 incidents involving the exposure of cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry to the accidental misuse of veterinary medicines, pesticides or rodenticides, and 50 incidents involving their exposure to microbiological toxins, particularly botulism.
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